Metaverse: What is it?

November 24, 2021

"The successor to the mobile internet"

The term “metaverse” became viral after Facebook rebranded itself as “Meta.” The so-called metaverse is a large online realm where people can communicate through digital avatars. It's a hypothetical 3D world that combines virtual and actual areas using personal computers, smartphones, and virtual, augmented reality glasses. It also includes features like avatar identity and content production that are common in social media. Meanwhile, Web 3.0, also known as the decentralized web, is the most recent generation of internet apps and services enabled by distributed ledger technology, the most common of which are blockchains. It focuses on decentralizing data instead of storing it centrally, with computers capable of interpreting information as intelligently as people.

At first glance, the metaverse may sound like a fantasy realm from the newest futuristic Hollywood blockbuster, and you would be correct. The word was first used in Neal Stephenson's 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, in which he envisaged a virtual reality-based internet successor. A few decades later, Ernest Cline's dystopian science fiction novel Ready Player One came out. Set in a future where the planet is crumbling due to an energy crisis, it also featured a metaverse called the OASIS, which can be accessed using a virtual reality headset and wired gloves to escape a world in trouble. Fast forward to today, and the term "metaverse" has become a popular cliché in Silicon Valley. It's also linked to the creation of Web 3.0, which some predict will be the internet's next chapter.

So far, a handful of companies, primarily social networking and gaming corporations, have declared ambitions to develop metaverse experiences, services, and hardware. Similar experiences are visible in the gaming sector, such as Pokemon Go, a mobile game. Both Epic Games' Fortnite and Roblox (RBLX) use comparable technologies and have presented virtual concerts with singers including Ariana Grande, Travis Scott, and Lil Nas. Companies in the metaverse are also considering staging sporting events for thousands of people at the same time. It is assumed to also play a significant role in education, allowing schools and institutions to provide a more focused learning environment. Virtual reality has long been used for home tours in the real estate industry, and metaverse development could broaden that purpose.
Although if the metaverse will be a happy place is up for debate, we know for sure that it's bound to change the future of every vertical we touch. How do you think the metaverse will impact your industry?

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